PhD position on Data-driven quantification of heating/cooling demand flexibility to support electricity and thermal distribution systems.

PhD position on Data-driven quantification of heating/cooling demand flexibility to support electricity and thermal distribution systems.

Published Deadline Location
14 Jul 11 Aug Delft

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The Delft University of Technology is hiring a doctoral candidate on the subject “Data-driven quantification of heating/cooling demand flexibility to support electricity and thermal distribution system.

Job description

The selected candidate will work on developing data-driven quantification models of energy flexibility from heating and cooling demand from different types of energy users (e.g., residential, smart buildings), aiming to support the planning and operation of the electricity and thermal distribution networks. These models will be a fundamental part of a more general stochastic framework that will guide system operators to decide on short- and long-term electricity and thermal investments decisions. To do this, the candidate is expected to combine data-driven and agent-based modeling to develop optimization models that can solve congestion problems at the electricity and thermal distribution level but also take into account user engagement to provide flexibility on the consumption side via demand response programs.

This is a four-year doctoral position. You will be jointly supervised by Dr. Pedro P. Vergara (assistant professor) and Prof. Peter Palensky (chair). You will be a member of the section Intelligent Electrical Power Grids in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science. The project will offer opportunities to collaborate with industrial partners but also with academics from other disciplines, as required (mathematics, operations research). Within the team, we strive to develop methods that are mathematically rigorous and have near-term application potential. We are strong supporters of open science (publishing, source code, data). You will also be expected to assist in teaching activities (student supervision, labs) related to your subject area.

About the ALIGN4Energy project

The “Aligning citizens and systems - Combining digital citizen engagement and personalised behavioural interventions to enable system-optimal clean energy investments at scale” (ALIGN4Energy) project unites scientists from the humanities and social sciences (economics, psychology, political sciences) and technical sciences (computer science, energy systems modelling), as well as companies, municipalities, and NGOs to jointly work towards a quick and low-cost transformation to natural gas-free homes in the Netherlands. The consortium develops an online platform that serves as an adaptive digital decision-support system for citizens and policymakers, to help them make energy-related investment decisions that are simultaneously optimal for each individual citizen and for the energy system.

About the department

The research in the Department of Electrical Sustainable Energy is inspired by the technical, scientific, and societal challenges originating from the transition towards a more sustainable society and focuses on three areas:

  • DC Systems, Energy Conversion and Storage (DCE&S)
  • Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD)
  • Intelligent Electrical Power Grids (IEPG)

The Electrical Sustainable Energy Department provides expertise in each of these areas throughout the entire energy system chain. The department owns a large ESP laboratory assembling High Voltage testing, DC Grids testing environment, and large RTDS that is actively used for real-time simulation of future electrical power systems, AC and DC protection and wide-area monitoring and protection.

The Intelligent Electrical Power Grid (IEPG) group, headed by Professor Peter Palensky, works on the future of our power system. The goal is to generate, transmit and use electrical energy in a highly reliable, efficient, stable, clean, affordable, and safe way. IEPG integrates new power technologies and smart controls, which interact with other systems and allow for more distributed and variable generation.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)



  • Basic knowledge of power systems and supply-demand matching.
  • Completed an MSc degree in a highly technical related discipline (computer science, electrical engineering, etc.) and you were at the top of your class.
  • Excellent analytical skills and a solid basis in machine learning and/or operational research. You can understand literature in both disciplines.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English proven by a minimum score of 100 in TOEFL or IELTS of 7.0 per sub-skill (writing, reading, listening, speaking). Candidates do not need to present the test results as part of their application. These results will be requested at a later stage during the selection procedure. For more information see
  • You enjoy performing research. You are independent, self-motivated and eager to learn.
  • You are keen to work with partners to link real-world challenges to fundamental research questions.


  • Knowledge of electrical distribution systems, power flow, and congestion management.
  • Experience with optimization methods and scheduling problems as well as optimization packages such as GAMS, AMPL, and/or Pyomo.
  • You enjoy programming and have experience with Python, machine learning, command-line tools, version control. 

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 


Faculty Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) brings together three disciplines - electrical engineering, mathematics and computer science. Combined, they reinforce each other and are the driving force behind the technology we use in our daily lives. Technology such as the electricity grid, which our faculty is helping to make future-proof. We are also working on a world in which humans and computers reinforce each other. We are mapping out disease processes using single cell data, and using mathematics to simulate gigantic ash plumes after a volcanic eruption. There is plenty of room here for ground-breaking research. We educate innovative engineers and have excellent labs and facilities that underline our strong international position. In total, more than 1,100 employees and 4,000 students work and study in this innovative environment.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02547


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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